Tag Archives: Senate House Historic Site

African American Culture and History Fest Saturday


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A stellar lineup of musical and poetic talent comes to Senate House State Historic Site for its second annual African American History and Culture Festival, from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday, October 2. Visitors will experience Master Drummer Maxwell Kofi Donkor and Sankofa, Kim and Reggie Harris, Kansas City Sound and jazz luminary Hugh Brodie, Michael Monasterial, Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK), and Readnex Poetry Squad for a full day of first-class entertainment. This free event offers fun for all ages, and occurs rain or shine. For more information, call (845) 338-2786.

The festival begins with a free drum workshop at 10:00 am by master drummer Maxwell Kofi Donkor. Some drums will be supplied, or bring your own. Young people are especially welcome, and no experience is necessary. Also at 10 am, Professor A.J. Williams-Myers speaks on the influence of Africans on the Hudson Valley tradition of Pinkster, originally a European celebration marking Pentecost and the arrival of spring.

A hands-on activity for kids, delicious food for sale, and free tours and admission to the Senate House and the site’s museum are all part of this terrific event, which is presented by the Friends of Senate House.

Senate House State Historic Site is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401, and is part of a system of parks, recreation areas and historic sites operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the site is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information about this and other upcoming events call the site at (845) 338-2786 or visit the State Parks website at www.nysparks.com.

Arts Forum:Appraising Art, Re-Appraising Vanderlyn


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The artistic and historic treasures of the Hudson Valley receive special attention from renowned appraiser and television personality, Leigh Keno, at Senate House State Historic Site on Saturday, October 23, in an arts forum, Appraising Art, Re-appraising Vanderlyn, 10 am to 4:30 pm. Also, regional experts on Hudson Valley art and culture examine the artistic Vanderlyn family, including John Vanderlyn, painter of six U.S. Presidents and an important American artist born in Kingston, NY. Tickets are $10. An evening reception with Leigh Keno in the Vanderlyn Gallery of the Senate House Museum, with wine, food and music, is $50. per person. For more information and to reserve tickets, please call (845) 338-2786.

Television personality and keynote speaker Leigh Keno shares his antiques discoveries, including the auction of early Kingston native Anna Brodhead Oliver’s portrait for $1.1 million.The forum introduces the Vanderlyn Catalogue Raisonné Project to document John Vanderlyn (1775-1852), first American painter to receive a gold medal from Napoleon Bonaparte for his art. If you have Vanderlyn family art or letters to submit for evaluation, call (845)338-2786.

Presentations include talks on Pieter Vanderlyn and John Vanderlyn contemporaries. Paintings and antiques from audience members will be evaluated by Leigh Keno and art experts during the afternoon session. Post-forum, join Leigh Keno for a soirée with chamber music, period French wine and hors d’oeuvres in the Senate House Museum. Tickets for the evening event are $50 per person. Senate House State Historic Site houses the world’s largest collection of Vanderlyn paintings, documents and ephemera.

“’Appraising Art, Re-Appraising Vanderlyn’ will be a fun-filled day for the home antiquer and the art connoisseur with a few surprises thrown in” stated Katherine Woltz, Vanderlyn Project director, who expressed her thanks to the Saugerties Historical Society and Historic Huguenot Street for their assistance in organizing the forum with the Friends of Senate House and the staff of Senate House State Historic Site.

Senate House State Historic Site is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401, and is part of a system of parks, recreation areas and historic sites operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the site is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information about this and other upcoming events please call the site at (845) 338-2786 or visit the State Parks website at www.nysparks.com.

Illustration: Miniature portrait of John Vanderlyn (1775-1852). From the collection of the Senate House State Historic Site.

Currier & Ives Prints Exhibition at Senate House


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The exhibit Currier & Ives: “Cheap and Popular Pictures” is now open at the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston. The prints of Currier & Ives—one of the most successful purveyors of lithographic prints in the 19th Century—are diverse, full of fascinating historical information and compelling imagery, perhaps despite their perennial appearance on calendars and cards. This new exhibit at Senate House State Historic Site, offers us forty of their prints focusing on the ideals, values, and innovations of the 19th Century.

While it’s better known for its buildings and collections representing colonial and Revolutionary history, Senate House State Historic Site, located in uptown Kingston, also has impressive collections of objects, documents, and art of the 19th Century, including over 200 Currier & Ives prints, given to the site by the late Rutgers Ives Hurry, a Saugerties resident whose passion was collecting images of the Hudson Valley made by the firm.

The Senate House exhibition focuses on three themes: the ideal of the 19th-century home, images of New York City, and Hudson River steamboats (both the luxury and potential dangers they represented). The exhibit is entitled “Cheap and Popular Pictures,” a term touted by Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, who shrewdly observed and marketed their images–made by many different artists of the day—to the opinions, interests, and ideals of America’s growing middle class.

The Senate House is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and 1 – 5 pm on Sundays. The exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibition runs through October 31 and is available by appointment and for school groups after that date. Senate House is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston NY, 12401. For more information and other details, please call (845) 338-2786.

Illustration: Steamers Drew and St. John. Sketched and Drawn by C. R. Parsons.
Hand-colored lithograph published by Currier & Ives, New York. Courtesy of Senate House State Historic Site.

Fall Events at Senate House Historic Site


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Fall brings a diverse lineup of programs at Senate House State Historic Site, in historic uptown Kingston, NY at 296 Fair Street. Senate House is part of a system of parks, recreation areas and historic sites operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the site is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information about thess and other upcoming events call the site at (845) 338-2786 or visit the State Parks website at www.nysparks.com.


Saturday, October 2, 1:00 – 7:00 PM

African American History & Culture Festival: Music as the Pulse of Life

Some of the best regional talent performing music of different genres, from freedom songs to hip hop. Featured artists include Kim and Reggie Harris, Rednex Poetry, POOK, the Ulster County Community Choir, and more. Also, hands-on activities for kids, lectures, food and more. This event is free, for all ages, and occurs rain or shine.

Saturday, October 9, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Living History Encampment by the Third Ulster Militia

Re-enactors demonstrate the realities of 18th-century life during wartime, as well as domestic activities and trades. Free; occurs in light rain or shine. Please call for details.

Saturday, October 23, 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Arts Forum: Appraising Art / Re-appraising Vanderlyn

Tickets $10.00

Join arts expert and television personality Leigh Keno and renowned regional art experts for a day of talks and object evaluations to learn about Hudson Valley art and history, the Vanderlyn family of painters—particularly its most famous member, John Vanderlyn—and strategies for evaluating objects to understand their significance and value. Tickets for the public program are $10.

Saturday, October 23, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Evening Reception with Leigh Keno

Tickets $50.00

Join Leigh Keno and other arts experts in the Senate House Museum’s Vanderlyn Gallery for wine, food, 19th-century chamber music and artful conviviality.

Through October 31:

Currier & Ives: “Cheap and Popular Pictures” a free exhibition of 40 prints by the best-known printmakers of the 19th Century, with images offering fascinating glimpses of the Hudson Valley’s past.

Currier & Ives at Senate House Historic Site


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The prints of Currier & Ives—one of the most successful purveyors of lithographic prints in the 19th Century—are diverse, full of fascinating historical information and compelling imagery, perhaps despite their perennial appeal on calendars and cards. A new exhibit at Senate House State Historic Site, in Kingston, NY, offers us forty of their prints focusing on the ideals, values and innovations of the 19th Century. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information on hours, location and other details, please call (845) 338-2786.

While it’s better known for its buildings and collections representing colonial and Revolutionary history, Senate House State Historic Site, located in uptown Kingston, also has impressive collections of objects, documents and art of the 19th Century, including over 200 Currier & Ives prints, given to the site by the late Rutgers Ives Hurry, a Saugerties resident whose passion was collecting images of the Hudson Valley made by the firm.

The Senate House exhibition focuses on three themes: the ideal of the 19th-century home, images of New York City, and Hudson River steamboats (both the luxury and potential dangers they represented). The exhibit is entitled “Cheap and Popular Pictures,” a term touted by Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, who shrewdly observed and marketed their images–made by many different artists of the day—to the opinions, interests and ideals of America’s growing middle class.

Currier & Ives: “Cheap and Popular Pictures” can be viewed during open hours at Senate House State Historic Site: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and 1 – 5 pm on Sundays. The exhibition runs through October 31, and is available by appointment and for school groups after that date. Senate House is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston NY, 12401. For more information: (845) 338-2786.

Timefest Comes to Senate House State Historic Site


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On Saturday and Sunday, June 5 and 6, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Senate House State Historic Site joins in Timefest, the city-wide celebration of Kingston’s history, offering free music, historical interpretation, tours, activities for kids and more. The Senate House events are free, open to the public, and occur rain or shine. For more information, please call (845) 338-2786.

On Saturday, June 5, Senate House highlights the Dutch Colonial history of our area. Living history presenters will inhabit the site, performing the tasks, crafts and pastimes of Dutch New York. Children can make their own “Dutch, Delft-like” tile to bring home. The Bells & Motley Consort of Olden Music performs lively tunes at 1:00 and 3:00, and throughout the event they display their collection of musical instruments.

On Sunday, June 6, an encampment by historical re-enactors from the First New York offers visitors a taste of military life during the Revolutionary era, and will also feature performances of military and popular music of the age. Kids can “enlist,” drill with fellow soldiers, and take part in a hands-on activity while learning about Kingston’s role in the Revolution. The Headless Horsemen Fife & Drum Corps will perform throughout the day as well.

On both days, free tours of Senate House and admission to the site’s museum are available from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm, thanks to the support of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area program, administered by the Hudson River Valley Greenway. All of the free, special programming on this weekend is supported by the Friends of Senate House and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

A “history jitney” will stop at the site throughout the day to bring visitors to other Timefest events in the Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods. This event is a great way to indulge in some free and educational family fun. For more information about Timefest, please call (800) 331-1518.

Senate House State Historic Site is located in Kingston’s historic uptown Stockade district, at 296 Fair Street, Kingston, NY, 12401. For more information about public programs, please call (845) 338-2786, or visit www.nysparks.state.ny.us

Hudson Valley Cultural History Discussions At Senate House


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In a unique collaboration, the New York Council for the Humanities has joined forces with the Senate House State Historic Site, in uptown Kingston, to offer “Reading Between the Lines: Cultural Crossroads at the Hudson River Valley,” a free reading and discussion series that runs from March through July 2010, meeting on Saturday afternoons once a month.

Reading Between the Lines is designed to promote lively, informed conversation about humanities themes and strengthen the relationship between humanities institutions and the public. Reading Between the Lines series are currently being held in communities across New York State.

At Senate House, the discussion leader will be A.J. Williams-Myers, Professor of Black Studies at the State University of New York, New Paltz. He will lead discussions of each series book: Les Sauvages Américains: Representations of Native Americans in French and English Literature, by Gordon M. Sayre; Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson River Valley, by Judith Richardson; The Jesuit Relations: Natives and Missionaries in 17th Century North America, edited by David Alan Greer; and Long Hammering: Essays on the Forging of an African American Presence in the Hudson River Valley to the Early Twentieth Century, by A.J. Williams-Myers. All books are loaned to participants.

In addition to the book discussions, Senate House staff will offer a brief presentation of a related artifact or document from the site’s collections at the end of each session, so that participants can get a taste of the site’s historical treasures.

For more information about Reading Between the Lines: Cultural Crossroads at the Hudson River Valley visit www.nyhumanities.org/discussion_groups.

Sound and Story of The Hudson Valley Event


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Eileen McAdam, Director of The Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley, will be the featured speaker during the Annual Meeting of the Friends of Senate House on Wednesday November 4th, at the Senate House Museum, 312 Fair Street in Kingston. Ms. McAdam has made it her mission to preserve and celebrate the history and culture of the Hudson Valley through recorded sound. Her Sound and Story Project includes oral history interviews, but it also encompasses many unusual sound recordings that portray this region, including the now-silenced bells of early American churches, or the sounds of bats in the caves of Rosendale. McAdam will talk about the art and method of capturing and preserving the sounds of the Hudson Valley, and the history they offer us.

The program will begin with light refreshments in the Vanderlyn Gallery at 6:30 pm, followed by a brief annual report, with the keynote address starting at 7:15 pm in the second floor gallery. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (845) 338-2786, or visit www.nysparks.state.ny.us

This year the Friends of Senate House supported a diverse range of activities and events for the public, including 17th, 18th and 19th century living history events, as well as celebrations of African-American and Native-American contributions to our history, heritage and culture. The Friends of Senate House also help make possible the historic site’s many school programs, which serve schools in several counties. The November 4th event is a great opportunity for newcomers and current supporters alike to learn about the Friends’ recent activities and enjoy an entertaining evening.

Senate House State Historic Site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which administers 29 parks, parkways, and historic sites for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in New York as well as the Palisades Interstate Park and parkway in New Jersey. For more information about New York State parks and historic sites, please visit www.nysparks.com, for information about the New Jersey section of the PIPC please visit www.njpalisades.org, and for more information about the Palisades Parks Conservancy and the Palisades Interstate Park parks and historic sites, please visit www.palisadesparksconservancy.org.

Senate House’s African American Culture and History Festival


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Scholar on African American history in the Hudson Valley, Professor A.J. Williams-Myers, of SUNY New Paltz, will give a talk looking at the specific contributions of Africans and African Americans to the Hudson Valley’s development entitled, “There is a River – A Mighty River: Social and Economic Contributions of Africans along the Hudson, from the Dutch Period to the American Revolution.” The talk, at 11:00 am on Saturday, October 3, is the kickoff event for an entire weekend of free programming: Senate House’s African American Culture and History Festival, which takes place from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and 4.

In his talk, Professor Williams-Myers examines the African at center stage in the unfolding of history along the Hudson River above New York City. Professor Williams-Myers notes: “Heretofore, the African has been marginal to that history, and his or her social, economic and military contributions have not been adequately integrated into the larger picture.” There is a River moves the African from out of the shadows of the margin and into the sunlight of center stage, while succinctly recounting his or her historical role in the unfolding of history along the mighty Hudson River.

Professor of Black Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz, Williams-Myers is the author of numerous books, including, Long Hammering: Essays on the Forging of an African American Presence in the Hudson River Valley to the Early Twentieth Century (1994) and On the Morning Tide: African Americans, History and Methodology in the Historica (2003).

The lecture is part of a free, weekend-long festival celebrating the cultural contributions of African Americans to the Hudson River Valley, New York, and the nation. Saturday, October 3, and Sunday October 4 will include live music, dance, drama, and spoken word performances, as well as art, hands-on activities, food, and free tours of Senate House and free admission to the Senate House Museum. Some of the scheduled artists include Voices of Glory, a young a cappella threesome who are finalists on the TV show, America’s Got Talent; renowned performers Kim and Reggie Harris; The Voices of Praise choir; the Ulster County Community Choir, the Energy Dance Troupe; the SUNY New Paltz Step Dancers, Kibola Sougei African Dance Troupe, and historical dramatists Carolyn Evans (as Sojourner Truth) and Terry Gittens (as Bessie Mae).

Senate House will also debut its African American Oral History recordings, made recently in collaboration with the Ulstercorps Harvesting a Lifetime Oral History Project, conducted with residents of Ulster County, sharing with us their experiences over the past six decades.

Senate House State Historic Site is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401. For more information please call (845) 338-2786, or visit the following website for more information: www.nysparks.state.ny.us.

Senate House State Historic Site Celebrates Heritage Weekend


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Senate House State Historic Site will celebrate New York State’s first annual Heritage Weekend by offering free admission to the site, free tours of Senate House, and demonstrations of 18th-century crafts and amusements on Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13. Visitors will be able to tour the first meeting place of New York’s elected Senate, which is also among the earliest homes built in Kingston’s historic Stockade district. The site’s museum collections include art and objects reflecting three centuries of mid-Hudson Valley history, including paintings by John Vanderlyn and other early American artists. Site staff will demonstrate 18th-century crafts, and introduce children to the toys of the past. The site’s special exhibition, Archives Alive!!, features highlights from the site’s extensive collection of documents.

On Sunday, September 13, at 2:00 pm, a free author’s talk and book signing by A. J. Schenkman will feature his recent book, Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh: Home to a Revolution, published by The History Press. Senate House State Historic Site is open 10:00 to 5:00 pm on Saturday, and 1:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday. It is located at 296 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401. For more information call (845) 338-2786, or visit www.nysparks.state.ny.us.